Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Noted and Quoted - September 2015 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Voices arguing for and against the ALP National Conference passing a resolution calling for Australia to unilaterally recognise a Palestinian state - as urged by some in the party - enjoyed a good run in the media.

On July 18, a pointer in the Age newspaper directed readers to its website where Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, co-Convener of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, called Israel's occupation "the longest... in modern history." So China's occupation of Tibet, which started in 1959, is now internationally recognised? 

Inverting history, Vamvakinou accused Israel of "a systemic culture of rejections at the negotiations" and claimed "since we voted for... partition... in 1947, Australia has consistently voted against Palestine in the UN." Actually, Australia votes every year in favour of a slew of UN resolutions that call for a Palestinian statehood as part of a peace deal!

What ISIS might do next

What ISIS might do next Author: Yaakov Amidror Categories: Egypt, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Syria    

Over the past several months, ISIS, the militant jihadist Islamic State, has made significant gains. It controls a huge expanse stretching in Iraq from Ramadi west of Baghdad across the Syrian border to the archeologically rich Tadmur (Palmyra). And, at the same time, it has been consolidating its hold on the entire northeastern region of the disintegrating Syrian state. The capture of Ramadi, a stone's throw from the Iraqi capital, and Tadmur, in the heart of Syria, creates a platform for even more significant future moves.

Print edition
Europa Europa: Migrant Madness

Europa Europa: Migrant Madness Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Far Right, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Islamic Extremism    

Thousands of migrants are crossing the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe. They are fleeing the war-torn and failed states of the Arab world and Africa - Syria, Iraq and the Maghreb, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria... the list goes on. Some, tragically, are drowning as the rickety boats provided by the people traffickers fail to make the crossing, but many more are washing ashore in Italy and Greece. From these points, they are able to move freely across non-existent borders as they head to the wealthier states of northern Europe.

Biblio File: To Medina and Back

Biblio File: To Medina and Back Author: Michael Totten Categories: Islamic Extremism    

In April of last year, Brandeis University offered Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree for her tireless campaigning for women's rights in the Muslim world. But little more than a week after announcing that she would be honoured at the University's commencement ceremonies, Brandeis rescinded its offer owing to Hirsi Ali's record of bluntly criticising Islamic oppression. "We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values," read the official withdrawal statement.

The sad irony of this cowardly betrayal is that Hirsi Ali would soon write a book arguing that Islam is not an irredeemable theology of hatred and violence and that the key to its integration into the modern world lies in the religion's vast majority of peaceable adherents. 

Asia Watch: Enemies real and imagined Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Israel    

Indonesia's historic reputation for religious tolerance took a beating for several years as an unholy coalition of Islamist politicians and self-styled enforcers like the Islamic Defenders Front harassed and sometimes violently attacked minorities, including Christians and Shi'ites, Sufi and Ahmadiyah Muslims.

But there are signs that positive change is at hand. 

How to Get a Better Deal With Iran

How to Get a Better Deal With Iran Author: Mark Dubowitz Categories: America, International Security, Iran    

The Iran nuclear deal is a ticking time bomb. Its key provisions sunset too quickly, and it grants Iran too much leverage to engage in nuclear blackmail. To defuse it, the US Congress needs to do what it has done dozens of times in the past including during the Cold War in requiring changes to key US-Soviet arms control agreements: Demand a better deal. And contrary to US President Barack Obama's threats, this doesn't have to lead to war.

Cameron's watershed speech

Cameron's watershed speech Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Islamic Extremism, United Kingdom    

On July 20, UK Prime Minister David Cameron made a major policy speech on countering extremism, which is likely to have a "tremendous impact" and inspire other countries, according to Professor Alan Johnson, an expert in de-radicalisation who was recently in Australia as a guest of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. 

Scribblings: CW Nightmare - leading to a nuclear one?

Scribblings: CW Nightmare - leading to a nuclear one? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iran, Syria    

A new potential nightmare has apparently just opened up for the world, and hardly anyone seems to have noticed. According to credible media reports, US intelligence believes ISIS, the world's most dangerous terror organisation, began using chemical weapons against opposing Kurdish forces in early August. US intelligence agencies also believe ISIS probably got the mustard gas it employed against Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq from Syria's stockpiles - stocks that are supposed to have been removed from the country and destroyed under a 2013 Russian-brokered deal. 

This should be big news.

The Last Word: The beginning of a new era?

The Last Word: The beginning of a new era? Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Asia, Australasia, Interfaith Dialogue    

There is a wonderful Indonesian celebration known as Hallal bi Hallal. Shortly after the end of Ramadan, Indonesian Muslims, and their guests, gather to strengthen interpersonal bonds and make peace with each other, just as during Ramadan they had been concentrating on their relationship to, and bonds with, G-d.

Israel and Egypt in the age of al-Sisi

Israel and Egypt in the age of al-Sisi Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Egypt, Israel    

Four years after pan-Arab upheaval shook its political foundations, Egypt is treading new economic, political, and diplomatic paths while increasingly harmonising with the Jewish state next door. The 2011 fall of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year autocracy was followed by three successors within less than three years, yet the regime that emerged from that mayhem is today entering its third year seemingly increasingly comfortable at the helm.  

Will Khamenei even approve the nuclear deal?

Will Khamenei even approve the nuclear deal? Author: Mehdi Khalaji Categories: Iran    

In a televised speech delivered August 17, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented on the P5+1 nuclear agreement in sceptical terms, noting that the decision about whether to approve the deal is still unclear in both Washington and Teheran. As he has done since July, the Supreme Leader also pointedly avoided approving the agreement, after a week of vigorous debate in Iran about his views on the document.

A Done Deal?

A Done Deal? Author: Robert Satloff Categories: America, Iran    

A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations but limited practical impact. It would not override President Obama's authority to enter into the agreement. Nor would it restrict his authority to participate in most aspects of enforcing the agreement. Indeed, the sole practical implication would be to restrict his authority under law to waive nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

Editorial: The Dilemma of Terrorism Within Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

Israelis and friends of Israel alike have, appropriately, come together in expressing profound shame and disgust over the firebombing of two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma late last month, which claimed the life of a toddler and his father. This came on top of a stabbing attack at Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade that left a teenage girl dead, and five others injured.

At times such as these, it is essential to resist the impulse to go on the defensive and try to deflect or downplay the significance of the incidents. 

Congressional Comment on Iran Deal/IAEA document shows Iran to inspect itself at Parchin Categories: America, International Security, Iran, Updates    

With US debate about last month's Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, continuing to foment in the lead up an expected Congressional vote in September, this Update two articles from Congressional leaders explaining their reasons for planning to oppose the deal. It also includes some new information, uncovered by the Associated Press, about an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) side-deal with Iran concerning the investigation of the Parchin site - long alleged to be a centre for Iran's nuclear weaponisation research - that is almost certain to excite even more Congressional opposition.

Print edition
Arguments about the Iran Deal

Arguments about the Iran Deal Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

This Update features contributions to the intense debate still occurring about the G5+1 nuclear deal reached with Iran in mid-July - especially as the US Congress moves to vote on the agreement. In particular, it highlights some responses being offered to arguments for the deal being put forward by the US Administration and its allies.

Isi Leibler visits Australia
Isi Leibler (centre) with other former ECAJ heads

Isi Leibler visits Australia Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Updates    

"Israel today and the Jewish people are facing challenges - that's an understatement," Jerusalem-based columnist Isi Leibler told a Sydney meeting last week.

Jewish Terrorism in Israel

Jewish Terrorism in Israel Categories: Israel, Terrorism, Updates    

Israel has been discussing and struggling with two major issues this week - what appears to be a Jewish firebombing terror attack on homes in the West Bank Palestinian town of Duma,  which left Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18-month-old child, dead, and members of his family fighting for their lives, plus a stabbing attack on Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade, which led to the death of a 16-year-old girl and injuries to five other people. Statements on the attacks from Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders are summarised here.

Iran's Supreme Leader allegedly sets out in detail his program to destroy and ethnically cleanse Israel

Iran's Supreme Leader allegedly sets out in detail his program to destroy and ethnically cleanse Israel Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Iran, Israel, Updates    

In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic in May, President Obama suggested that the Iranian regime's racist and antisemitic worldviews don't "preclude [them] from being rational," or from "being interested in survival." Obama acknowledged the regime's explicit antisemitism, yet then proceeded to negotiate a nuclear deal that would ultimately bolster and empower this dangerous regime with virtually no practical check on its incitement (see here for AIJAC's deconstruction of the deal's flaws and implications.)

Talking Turkey: Was Turkey’s assault on ISIS a pretext to attack the Kurds?

Talking Turkey: Was Turkey’s assault on ISIS a pretext to attack the Kurds? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Turkey, Updates    

Turkey has finally joined the fight against ISIS. On July 24 Turkey sent fighter jets into Syria to attack ISIS targets, and it also agreed to allow the US and other allies to use Incirlik in southern Turkey as a base to carry out operations against ISIS. It should have been a welcome development but on the same day Turkey also attacked the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Since then, Turkey has reportedly carried out hundreds of attacks on PKK targets and has killed around 260 Kurdish fighters. Many are now asking, was Turkey's agreement to fight ISIS merely a pretext for attacking the Kurds?